Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

The Brain-Gut Connection: How Gut Bacteria May Treat Depression

We humans have a second brain. Come to think of it, men have three. The second one, called our enteric nervous system, consists of some 100 million neurons that are embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the anus. It measures approximately nine meters long, deeper than most swimming pools.

As important as the neurons in the gut is the kind of bacteria found there. Our body is a dwelling place for about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as our microbiome.
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Aging

9 Simple Ways to Exercise Your Brain

Research shows it's possible for both our bodies and our minds to age well. Try incorporating a few of the tips below to keep your brain sharp and strong well into your golden years.

Write a thank-you letter.
Research shows that writing with a pen on paper can create and sharpen existing neural pathways in the brain, while carving new neuronal connections. The hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, and stories of memories also is exercised. Research proves every day that cultivating and expressing gratitudecan make you healthier and happier.
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Bipolar

My Mental Health Journey in Surviving Cancer

I live with bipolar disorder, OCD, and migraines, and have recovered from complex PTSD, an eating disorder, and other difficult illnesses. I've survived homelessness, domestic violence, and other traumas. Still, when my doctor gave me a cancer diagnosis last winter, it was the hardest shock yet.

First I had to wait a few weeks to see my oncologists and get a treatment plan: six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. The wait was gloomy, filled with dread and fear. I told only close family, not wanting to spread bad news.
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Brain and Behavior

How to Stay Motivated and Committed to Your Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Many people these days are starting a mindfulness meditation practice with great intentions and lots of enthusiasm. They’ve heard of its health benefits, and are eager to start meditating. However, few of them stay committed long-term. And those who don’t stick with it will have a hard time dealing with stress in their lives.

There are several reasons why many people quit soon after beginning:

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Anxiety and Panic

Tips for Thwarting Panic Attacks

I awake in the middle of a summer night, hot and uncomfortable and possibly disoriented from a disturbing dream.

Feelings of nausea intertwine with the heat, rendering me physically drained.

I sit in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices, feet tapping in sporadic rhythm, nervous at the onset of blood pressure readings and other evaluations.
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Brain and Behavior

One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle

One of the interesting things about losing a lot of weight is that everyone wants to know your secret. It is as if there were some magic potion that only a select few know about.

When I was 275 pounds, I used to scour the web and magazines for secrets to losing weight; I was a little obsessed. I came into contact with people who were successful with weight loss and would probe them for their secret. They usually said “diet and exercise.” That is definitely not what I wanted to hear. I would try one television “secret” after another, all of them promising swift and long-term weight loss. I became so desperate to lose weight that I was throwing my money (that’s all they are after) at these advertisements.

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Brain and Behavior

Can’t Make a Decision? 4 Things to Try

You’ve just worked your third 12-hour day in a row, with no sign of the craziness winding down in the days ahead, when a client calls you with yet another problem that needed to be solved -- yesterday.

In that moment, it may seem like your brain simply gives up while your client is still on the line, waiting for you to provide another one of the quick, brilliant solutions that she’s come to depend on you for.

This moment of mental paralysis, or the inability to make an effective decision in a brief moment, even if it’s normally easy for you, is what’s known as decision fatigue.
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Anger

Psychology Around the Net: August 15, 2015


Good morning (or, afternoon!), Psych Central readers!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers information about mood disorders and heart disease, helpful tips for pursuing happiness, a new study for preventing schizophrenia, and more.

Enjoy reading and the rest of your day!

Teens With Depression, Bipolar Disorder Should Be Screened For Heart Disease, Experts Say: There's much evidence suggesting heart disease and depression are interlinked in older adults, but now the American Heart Association has stated teens with mood disorders might be at an increased risk for heart disease, too.

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General

Stressless Aging

I don’t mean to stress you out, but according to a growing number of scientific reports, stress makes us age more quickly. Research suggests that from our skin to our hearts, brains, and even cells, the more we stress, the older we get. The question, “Do we age because of stress or is getting older stressful?” leaves us with yet another chicken and egg scenario.

We're a nation that is collectively losing its mind over the whole stress issue. We’re told that it’s a natural response, an evolutionary act of survival to fight or flee from harm. We’re also told that this response itself can kill us. One side says that we have to control life events in order to reduce stress, while the other states that we only need to control how we think about stress to reduce its damaging effects.

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Brain and Behavior

3 Strategies to Reframe Your Thinking on Exercise

Even though most of us put happiness near the top of our want lists, many of us are secretly convinced that it will always be just out of reach. But the truth is that happiness is already available to us. All we have to do is start moving.

Scientific evidence is mounting that moving our bodies changes our brains in ways that can lead to happiness. In fact, it turns out that moving our bodies is one of the best ways to foster a chemical reaction that leads to happiness. Even small amounts of movement -- as little as one minute – boost energy and mood. Research also shows that we are much more likely to stick with exercise that we choose autonomously, enjoy doing, and makes us feel great right now.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Things to Consider When Your Depression Is Not Getting Better

I keep getting the same email over and over again, and my heart aches each time I read it: “I have tried everything to overcome my depression, but nothing has helped. Is there anything else I can do or will I have to live the rest of my life plagued with sadness?”

First, hear these three words: There is hope. If there wasn’t any, I would not be alive writing my blog. I am one of the worst cases out there like you are. I have spent more years of my life fantasizing about death than wanting to be alive. I get it. But now I do enjoy some really good days -- where I feel better than I ever have. And those good days keep me motivated to get through the harder ones.
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Caregivers

Why You Should Always Get a Second Opinion

When you are diagnosed with an illness, especially when you have a mental health condition, you should always get a second opinion. Or a third. Or a fourth. Get as many as you can. The more you get, the more expert evidence you can collect as to what the real issue is.

As a patient, it's important to be as informed as possible about your own condition. It’s your body and you have to live with it. You decide how to react to your situation. Educating yourself about diseases and treatments and understanding your symptoms will help you to make decisions on what to do because, ultimately, it’s up to you.

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